It is widely recognized that an understanding of the optical pro perties of matter will give a great deal of important information re levant to the fundamental physical properties. This is especially true in semiconductor physics for which, due to the intrinsic low screening of these materials, the optical response is quite rich. Their spectra reflect indeed as well electronic as spin or phonon transitions. This is also in the semiconductor field that artificial structures have been recently developed, showing for the first time specific physical properties related to the low dimentionality of the electronic and vi bronic properties : with this respect the quantum and fractional quan tum Hall effects are among the most well known aspects. The associated reduced screening is also a clear manifestation of these aspects and as such favors new optical properties or at least significantly enhan ces some of them. For all these reasons, it appeared necessary to try to review in a global way what the optical investigation has brought today about the understanding of the physics of semiconductors. This volume collects the papers presented at the NATO Advanced study Inst i tut e on "Optical Properties of Semiconductors" held at the Ettore Majorana Centre, Erice, Sicily on March 9th to 20th, 1992. This school brought together 70 scientists active in research related to optical properties of semiconductors. There were 12 lecturers who pro vided the main contributions .